Warren County Balloon Festival

Originally posted on nj.com

Warren County, NJ – The Warren County Farmers’ Fair has been bringing our community affordable family fun for 75 years. Over the years the Fair has expanded its entertainment offerings while still retaining its agricultural roots.

Inflation at the Balloon Festival at the Warren County Farmers’ Fair.
The Fair will always be a place where the young and young at heart can congregate and have some old-fashioned fun. All this is delivered at old-fashioned prices. Admission to the Fair is $6 for an adult and $4 for children ages 5-12. Children ages 4 and under are admitted free and there is no charge for parking. The Fair’s idea of inflation is the mass hot air balloon inflation held each evening at 6:30 pm. The Balloon Festival, presented by JCP&L is included in the admission price.
The newest thing at the Fair this year is that it’s expanded by one day. This year opening day at the Fair will be Saturday, July 28 and will run through Saturday, August 4, 2012. Buildings and vendor booths will be open at noon from opening day Saturday through Friday; gates open at 11 am. On closing day Saturday the Fair kicks off at 8 am with the 26th Annual Warren Hills Wrestling Competition.
Opening day Saturday the Fair will be showing off their country-western side as they kick off with a new Truck Show. The classes for the show are Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Import, SUV, and Big Rig. Check the website for details closer to the event.
Wild West City, a western heritage theme park, will be hanging around the Fair that day. Wild West City rangers will be walking around the Fair and mingling with the guests. You may also encounter a trick roper, snake oil salesman and a “Persistent Undertaker” – one of several shows they will be performing throughout the day.
In the evening the Fair will present their first Country Idol contest, for contestants 16 years and older. The contestants will be judged on musical talent, vocal ability and performance. Prize money will be awarded for the winner and for second and third runner up. Rules and registration form are available on the Fair website.
This year a series of Teen Contests are being introduced. Daily from 1:00 – 6:00 pm, teens can compete for prizes as individuals in contests like pie or watermelon eating or in our triathalon. Teens can also pair up as a “Crew of Two” and compete as a team. Brady the Class Clown will emcee the contests throughout the week.
The Mr. Warren County Contest is another new addition. This week-long competition consists of six individual contests with points being accumulated for each. The final event is an obstacle course, held during an intermission of the Truck Mud Bog on the final day of the fair. The overall winner will receive a cash prize, along with a one-of-a-kind, Warren County Farmer’s Fair hat with “Mr. Warren County – 2012” embroidered on the side. The competition is open to males, 18 years or older.
The Fair invites amateur backyard BBQ’ers as well as professional cooks and restaurant owners to participate in the Rib Cook-Off Contest, on Sunday, July 29. Register early, as only 10 teams per category will be accepted. Pre-registration is required.

Don’t miss “Balloomination” Balloon Glow
Back by popular demand is “Balloomination,” a one of a kind balloon glow. On Friday and Saturday nights, at 9 pm, JCP&L will help light up the balloon port with this spectacular show. Hot air balloons will be glowing in sync to a variety of patriotic songs and are sure to put on a memorable show. This show was last seen at the Fair in 2002.
Check out the schedule of events, at http://www.warrencountyfarmersfair.org, which also includes plenty of old favorites. There are numerous car shows, tractor shows and 4-H and FFA contests. There will be balloon activity each night out on the balloon port including mass balloon launches each evening. And let’s not forget about the contests in the Main Arena, which range from the Fair Queen and Princess Contest, to two demolition derbies, tractor and truck pulls and mud bogs.
The Warren County Farmers’ Fair and Balloon Festival is supported in part by a grant from New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism. The Fair is also proud to welcome JCP&L as the presenting sponsor of the 12th annual Balloon Festival at the Fair.



Real Meatballs

I got this recipe from barefoot contessa family style

1/2 lb Ground veal
1/2 lb Ground pork
1 lb Ground beef
1 Cup Bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Chopped fresh flat- leaf parsley
1/2 Cup Fresh grated paramesan cheese
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Fresh ground pepper
1 Extra large egg beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil
Sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp Good olive oil
1 Cup Chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 tsp Minced garlic
1/2 Cup Red wine
28 oz Can crushed tomatoes or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1 Tbsp Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp Kosher sal
1/2 tsp Freshly ground pepper

Place the meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parm, and salt, pepper, egg and 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl.
Combine very lightly with a fork.
Lightly form mixture into 2 inch meatballs. 14-16
Pour equal amounts of veg oil and olive oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat.
Place the meatballs in the oil and brown well on all sides over medium to low heat turning carefully with a spatula or fork. Should take about 10 min for each batch.
Remove the meatballs to a plate and cover with a paper towel. Discard the oil, but don’t clean the pan.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and sauce over medium heat until translucent, 5-10 min.
Add the garlic and cook for one more min
Add the wine and cook on high heat scraping up all the brown bits on the pan until almost all the liquid evaporates about 3 min.
Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.
Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25-30 min until the meatballs are cooked through.


Fathers Day Tape Measure

Our faux tape measure extends the perfect Father’s Day message to a dad who’s skillful at building and repairing. Have him pull out the ruler tape to read, “You rule, Dad!,” “I love you thiiiiiiis much!” or “Dad, you really go the distance!”
Rectangular box (we used a macaroni-and-cheese box)
Yellow card stock
Aluminum foil
Black paper
Cut the box in half across the middle. Cut off half of the bottom section at a diagonal, as shown. Tape one end of a 1- by 12-inch strip of yellow card stock to the edge of the top half of the box, using tape on both sides of the strip.
Slide the bottom of the box into the top of the box.
Fold a 2-1/2- by 6-inch piece of aluminum foil into thirds lengthwise, then fold it into a flat tab about 1/2 inch long. Tape it to the strip. Write a message on the strip and add ruler markings, then push it inside the box. Wrap the box with black paper, leaving a space for the tape opening. Cut off two corners of a 2-1/2-inch yellow card stock square, write “tape measure” on it, and adhere it to the box.


Wake to Sleep Method

Originally seen on babysleepsit.com

Can the “Wake to Sleep” Method Help Lengthen Your Baby’s Short Naps?

An older, wiser friend once told me, “Baby naps are God’s way of saying to parents, ‘I love you. Now go take a shower.’” Pretty accurate, right? Most parents look forward to naptimes, those brief interludes when you can actually pause for breath, do the never-ending chores, or have a little “me” time. In fact, this is such a hot topic that our quarterly Member tele-seminar a week from today is dedicated to discussing your baby’s short naps.

Of course, when it comes to naps, not all babies are created equal, are they? Some of you may have babies who are marathon nappers, providing you with several hours of uninterrupted time each day to shower and eat and pay bills and waste spend time on Facebook. Some of us, though, may not be so lucky. You may have a cat-napper who never sleeps for more than 30 or 40 minutes at a time, but who seems to wake as cranky and exhausted as when she started. And even if your baby’s sleeping through the night, short naps can still be frustrating, especially if you’ve worked hard for those 30-40 minutes putting baby down in the first place!

Some people recommend the “wake to sleep” method as a way to extend short naps. But does it work? Can your baby’s short naps be lengthened with this technique?

What is the “Wake to Sleep” Method?

Tracy Hogg first introduced the concept called “wake to sleep” in her book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby. Tracy suggests in her book that a number of babies who wake frequently at naptime and at night are habitual wakers — that is, they’re waking out of habit, and not out of hunger or distress. According to Tracy, habitual wakers tend to wake at roughly the same times each night, and they tend to wake from their naps about 30 or 40 minutes after falling asleep.

Does this sound like your baby? If so, she may be a habitual waker. This would explain why her naps are so short, why she often wakes seeming tired and cranky, and why you just can’t get her on a nap schedule. She’s waking out of habit, and not because she’s actually had enough sleep. It’s not a coincidence, however, that it’s 30 to 40 minutes later. Your baby may not be able (yet) to transition to her next sleep cycle without your help, or she may not expect to be required to do it on her own, depending on her age. She wakes 30-40 minutes because that’s how long her sleep cycle is and some people can set a clock to it!

It’s important to remember that the “wake to sleep” method is used to solve the problem of habitual waking. Before using this method, it’s important to make sure that your baby isn’t waking out of hunger, illness, or discomfort. If you’ve ruled out those causes, however, it’s safe to try the “wake to sleep” method.

How You Can Use the “Wake to Sleep” Method to Lengthen Naps

The idea behind “wake to sleep” is that you’re “supporting” your child through the transition from one sleep cycle to the next. The first 20 or so minutes of a nap is light sleep, or REM sleep. After that, baby transitions into deeper, or non-REM, sleep. It’s during that transition period that babies often wake and aren’t able to get back to sleep.

With the “wake to sleep” method, you lightly rouse your baby (rubbing his back, making shushing sounds, gently tickling his feet, stroking his hair, or simply turning on the light and whispering his name, if he’s a light sleeper) before he begins that transition, and then you help him make the transition, gently easing him into the next stage of deeper sleep.

Should You Use the “Wake to Sleep” Method to Lengthen Naps?

At The Baby Sleep Site, we do our best to empower parents in their sleep training decisions and to remain judgement-free when it comes to offering advice. “Wake to sleep” is obviously a very gentle method that would support a no-cry sleep training philosophy. If you’re a mom with a very young (or newborn) baby, or if you have a strong aversion to any amount of crying, “wake to sleep” might be a good option for you to try (doesn’t hurt to try!). In those early months (when it’s too soon to begin any real sleep training but you’re so tired you feel like you might fall asleep driving your precious cargo around), it helps to have every tool available in your toolbox!

One recent client shared with us that she successfully used this method with her son (before seeking our help with her nighttime issues) when he was 2 or 3 months old. He was waking from his naps after exactly 45 minutes of sleep. She said this:
“At the 40 minute mark, I would gently jiggle his Pack and Play so that he would transition from one sleep cycle into the other. I did this for a couple of weeks and it worked…Now, he rarely wakes at the 45 minute mark.”
For her, “wake to sleep” was a nice solution to her problem, since her son was still too young for actual sleep training. The “wake to sleep” method can be a good way to help your newborn nap longer.

Although this method works for some families, we generally don’t recommend using the “wake to sleep” method as a way to extend short naps. First, it is risky in that you may inadvertently wake the baby you’ve worked hard at getting to sleep! And, if your baby is anything like Nicole’s, the moment he saw you there, he’d be up! Second, if your baby is taking short naps due to a schedule problem, wake to sleep likely won’t work. And finally, we don’t want to help our babies create any sleep associations that involve lots of work on our part, whether it’s rocking or nursing the baby to sleep, replacing a pacifier every 15 minutes, or easing the baby through every transition between sleep cycles. Ultimately, the goal is for your baby to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep by herself, without you needing to perform any tricks to make that happen. Of course, all babies (and parents!) are different. What you mind “doing” at nap time, and how often you do it, will differ from another parent.

Furthermore, many people acknowledge that while “wake to sleep” can work, the results aren’t necessarily permanent, since you aren’t teaching the baby any new habits. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for life.” This same principle holds true for many parents using “wake to sleep” to lengthen naps. The “wake to sleep” method may help you extend today’s nap(s), but teaching a baby good sleep habits will likely mean good naps every day.


Middle Class Host Family

Originally seen on hostfamilyhandbook.com

We are a first time host family …had a 5 week experience with a young lady who decided it wasnt what she expected and went home..so..after rematching we now have a lovely girl from Columbia.
My question is this…it seems that MOST, if not ALL of the other host families in my area are very wealthy…offering SUV’s to their aupairs… I Phones, vacations to the Caribbean..etc….EXCEPT for us…we are a middle class family who shares the minivan with the aupair…bought her a Tracfone and dont think we will be hitting the Virgin Islands this year…
Please tell me there are other middle class families who are hosting aupairs…I almost feel bad for my aupair when she visits the others in their big beautiful mansions!

Middle Class Families
I was reading about other family issues with Au Pairs and I found this discussion.
Let me give you a little background about myself. My wife and I got married and have two children. We both worked and were looking into childcare solutions. After paying for all the childcare expenses for one we were dreading the addtional childcare expenses that an infant was gong to cost us. We are a middle class family that both worked for the local government. Heck, we couldn’t afford to live in the town that we work for.
So after comparing the cost between Childcare and the Au Pair program, we choose an Au Pair program. We weren’t really good researching the various agencies we just picked the one that a friend had been using. Luckly for us it has worked out well for us. We have had 5 Au Pairs and we were successful with 4 of them. One just wasn’t ready for really working and not living comfy lifestyle. We choose to re-match with a new Au Pair from out of the Country.
It has been a challenge for us carpooling to work, juggling schedules for Au Pair to have a car for her activites and the family having a car for our needs.
After a while we actully were recruited by the our Agency to become Local Child Care coordinators. Now we oversee about 23 Au Pair and families and most of them are middle class. Some Au Pairs have some good amendaties, but others have great host familes and don’t care about the extra things.
I guess I just wanted to say that you are not the only “Middle Class” family that has an Au Pair. There are lots out there and the Au Pairs and family are having great a great year.
The keys that I recommend to having a good year are do a through interview before picking an Au Pair, ie don’t give them “Yes, or No” questions. Set the House Rules before they get there and be tough at first (it’s a lot easier to give than to take away). Finally make sure that you have opened a good two way communication between the host family and the Au Pair once they arrive!
Good luck!!!!!

I don’t think that the majority of Au Pairs care about the size of your home or how much money you make. They worry about having a good year (or 2) with a family who cares about them and welcomes them into their family as a member, not a guest or employee.


Dr. Bill Comments on Time Magazine Article

As seen on askDrSears.com

Read Dr. Bill’s comments about Time Magazine’s cover and the article on him and attachment parenting.

Hello parents!

The cover was risky but a brilliant hook by Time Magazine to attract readers, and they achieved their goal. The writer, Kate Pickert, herself a new mother and one of Time’s most diligent writers, sincerely wanted to increase awareness of the Sears’ family contribution to parenting and family health. She lived with our family for two days, followed me in the office, and spent hours with me on the phone in an attempt to be factual. While the cover photo is not what I or even cover-mom Jamie would have chosen, it accomplished the magazine’s purpose. And, as some attachment dads observed, finally a magazine displays a woman’s breast for the real purpose for which they were designed – to nurture a child, not to sell cars and beer. Cover-mom Jamie is a super-nice person and highly-educated in anthropology, nutrition and theology. I enjoyed the several hours I spent with her family and her kids shined with the social effects of attachment parenting.

Even though I’m used to being misunderstood and misquoted, as is attachment parenting (AP), I had a few concerns. AP is not extreme. It’s very natural and instinctual. It’s the oldest parenting style in the world. Nor is breastfeeding three years extreme, at least throughout the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends for optimal health children be breastfed for at least two years and sometimes recommends three years.

Another misconception was AP is difficult for the mother who works outside the home. It’s just the opposite. Women are the greatest multi-taskers in the world. AP, modified to the parents’ work schedule, helps busy parents reconnect with their child, which actually makes working and parenting easier. It’s attachment moms that forged the long overdue workplace-friendly breastfeeding-pumping stations and laws which respect and value the ability of a working mother to continue part-time breastfeeding.

Regarding the science criticism, it’s impossible to scientifically prove by a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized study (the gold standard in science) that AP works better than a more distant style of parenting. You would have to take a thousand mothers who practice AP and another thousand who don’t, and see how their kids turn out. What parent would sign up for such a study? Yet there is one long-term effect that science does agree on: The more securely-attached an infant is, the more securely independent the child becomes.

I’m disappointed the article did not pay more attention to the bottom-line of attachment parenting: how AP children turn out – and that’s where this style of parenting really shines. In my 40 years of studying the long-term effects of what parents do to help their children turn out well, AP kids generally are more: empathetic and compassionate, relate better to people, are easier to discipline, and are just nicer to be around. When I walk into an exam room in my office, an AP baby, like a little sunflower, naturally turns toward my face and lights up. I’ve yet to see an AP child be a school bully. On the contrary, they are the ones who try to comfort a hurting child.

Attachment parenting is not an all-or-nothing, extreme, or indulgent style of parenting. I advise moms and dads that the seven Baby B’s (birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in baby’s cries, beware of baby trainers, and balance) are starter tools (remember, tools not rules) to help parents and infants get to know each other better. And families can modify these tools to fit their individual family situation.

Over my years of mentoring attachment parents, the main two words of feedback I have heard is empowering and validating. My “helper’s high” file is filled with thank you letters such as: “Thank you, Dr. Bill, for validating what my heart and gut tell me is right.” “Thank you, Dr. Bill, for empowering us new parents with your personal experience to help us enjoy our children more.”

As an investment banker dad once told me: “AP is one of the best long-term investments you can make in giving your child a greater chance of growing up happier, healthier, and smarter.” Aren’t those the three main qualities we all want for our children?

Dr. Bill


Pad for Dad

Pad for Dad from Family Fun


1. Cut three sheets of plain letter-size paper in half lengthwise. Fold the two sets of three sheets in half. Working on one set at a time, punch two holes 3/4-inch in from the fold and the side.

2. Cut two pieces of thin cardboard the same size as the folded white paper, then trim about 1/8-inch from the short ends. Cut a 4 1/4- by 11-inch piece from a brown paper bag, then use glue stick to adhere it to the two cardboard pieces, leaving a small gap between them, as shown. Punch four holes 3/4 of an inch from the gap and the side.
3. Fold the brown paper cover around the two sets of white paper. Feed a loop of a 3 1/2-inch rubber band through each hole, and slide a small stick through the loops. Attach newspaper letters to the cover with glue stick.